Monday, February 12, 2007

OVER-DRAWING

This is a new self-promo piece I am working on. I have a rep who is going to put more of my work out there so hopefully this will mean more work coming in. The only downside is that it will mean...MORE WORK. I barely have time to complete the projects in the pipeline now!! Still, more work means more money and that's always good.

One thing I have noticed in my work is that I have a tendency to over-draw. I heard an old drawing teacher tell a fellow student a long time ago that he was "over-drawing." I guess I thought he meant that he was drawing on top of something he shouldn't have been. I later learned that he meant that the student was using too many lines in his work--almost as if he were digging for the image with his pencil. The best drawings, he explained, are drawings that have "economy of line." These drawings come together with just a few simple lines. He was fond of saying how one of the best drawings he'd ever seen was a nude figure created with only three brushed lines. I thought this was just bollocks for a long time.

This past weekend I was looking at old Calvin and Hobbes strips and I noticed how simple-and how brilliant the drawings were. I then looked back at what I was working on which was a crossed-hatched, pencil nightmare. It had none of the weight, or soul of the simple drawings in those wonderful strips. My mom, an illustrator/cartoonist herself used to tell how Peanuts creator Charles Schulz once said of C&H creator Bill Watterson, "He draws the best night tables of anyone in the business." I don't know how accurate that quote is but it sure is the truth. I suddenly realized what my old teacher meant.

I am not a cartoonist by any means. I have far too much respect for cartoonists to call myself one. What they do requires a special kind of artistic skill and a finely tuned sense of humor. But I have TONS to learn from cartoonists like Bill Watterson, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Jeff MacNelly, and the list goes on... Lines are what hold a drawing up--the scaffold if you will. Everything else is just sauce for the goose. I spent a hell of a lot of time perfecting the skill of crosshatching. Now I think it has ruined me as an artist because I have gotten so wrapped up in the hatching that I have neglected the most important part. The Line...

Anyway, I am working on it...

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